Following in the footsteps of last year’s nine-month long $300k Golden Race promotion, the industry leading NJ online casino site has upped the ante even further, with a yearlong leaderboard challenge that will spread half-a-million dollars around in loot.
Always wanted to drive a Bentley? How about the chance to meet your favorite athletes face-to-face? Or maybe, you’d just like to see thousands of bonus dollars in your account at the beginning of each month. That’s just a smattering of the prizes up for grabs in this year’s Half Million Dollar Race.
And while this promo is still mostly designed with the serious gambler in mind, casual players stand a much better shot to claim a prize than they did last year.
Mission received, mission accomplished
Half Million Dollar Race may go down as the first casino promotion in history that requires an advanced degree to fully comprehend. That’s hyperbole of course, but this is a complex and multi-faceted event.
The path to understanding Golden Nugget’s rewarding narrative is to break the promo down into its weekly missions, and monthly and annual leaderboard tiers.
Each week, from what looks like Monday through Thursday, Golden Nugget will offer two Missions: Weekly Points Mission and Weekly Coins Mission. The particulars of these missions will vary from week to week, but the general benefits will remain the same.
First up is Weekly Points Mission, a mini-promo that grants players a chance to bolster their monthly and annual leaderboard statuses.
As an example, the first mission, which ran from January 1 – 4, asked players to deposit $20 or more and accumulate daily wagers of $250 on slots or $1,250 on all other games. In exchange they’d receive 25 Mission (leaderboard) Points. This process could be repeated until players had grabbed an extra 500 Mission Points, and could also be repeated for all four days of the offer, meaning a maximum of 2,000 Mission Points were up for grabs.
Mission Points are applied directly to a player’s monthly and annual leaderboard point tallies.
Assuming future Weekly Points Missions work similarity, this is an opportunity for low-to-mid rollers to level the playing field, as the capped limit on Mission Points ensures that high-rollers can’t get too far ahead.
The second weekly offer, Weekly Coins Mission, is perhaps the most recreational-player friendly component of the larger promotion. Here’s how it works:
- Each week starting Monday and ending Thursday, opt in and make a small deposit of $20 or more. Players must opt in on each day they want to take part in the promo.
- Earn Coins by placing bets on games, pretty much how players would on any normal day.
- Meet a certain bets requirement and earn a sweepstakes entry. Multiple entries can be earned, up to a certain daily cap.
- Check in on Friday to see if a prize was won. Ten bonus cash prizes are up for grabs, ranging from $50 – $500.
As an example, on week one (January 1 – 4) players that opted in received 10 Coins per 50 bets, up to a daily cap of 2,500 Coins.
The beauty of this offer lied in its flexibility. To elaborate, players could have played any game, at any denomination. So the $0.10 a hand blackjack player earned just as much as the $100 a spin slot aficionado, pending the same number of wagers were made. While an argument can be made that that’s a bit unfair to the site’s high-rollers, the other facets of Half Million Dollar Race rely so much on high volume and big bets, that it was critical to do something to keep those who gamble for occasional entertainment value engaged.
One can only hope that future offers will be as accessible to the budget conscious.
Good news, the monthly and annual leaderboard facets of the promo are much more straightforward. Phew.
First, the monthly leaderboard. Each month beginning in January, Golden Nugget will award a five-figure prize pool to the top point earners for the month, with points earned via the following means:
- For every loyalty (Golden) point earned, players will receive a leaderboard point.
- Golden Points are earned by playing real-money games, at a rate of 5 points per $100 wagered on slots, and 1 point per $100 wagered on all other games. Making daily deposits and/or placing at least one bet per day also earns players a nominal number of points.
- In addition, any Weekly Points Mission points earned for the week are credited to the monthly leaderboard on Friday.
For January, the prize pool is set at a generous $25,000 in bonus play, with prize values ranging between $5 and a cool $5,000. Returning players will notice that the monthly leaderboards pay out a lot more participants (500) compared to last year, which should come as a welcome surprise to those who just missed out.
All bonus dollars carry a very reasonable 1x wagering requirement on slots and 5x on other games, which must be met within seven days of issuance.
And now onto the Big Kahuna, otherwise known as the yearly leaderboard. Accumulating points for this leaderboard are done in the same fashion as for the monthly leaderboard, with the following exceptions:
- Points are tabulated for the entire calendar year of 2018, with winners determined in early January 2019.
- From August through November leaderboard points will count as 200%. In December, they’ll count as a whopping 300%.
The prize matrix for this component of Half Million Dollar Race is impressive, and that’s putting it mildly:
- 1st place: Lease a Bentley for a year or $2,500 monthly bonus dollars for all of 2019.
- 2nd place: A package consisting of business class airfare to Houston for four, and attendance at a sporting event where winners will meet the team. Afterwards, winners will be whisked away via helicopter to Golden Nugget Lake Charles, where they’ll enjoy a two night stay in a complementary suite, $2,000 freeplay and a host of other amenities. Or they could just take $1,250 monthly bonus dollars.
- 3rd place: $12,000 in Landry’s restaurant vouchers, or alternatively, $12,000 free play on Golden Nugget Casino, paid out in $1,000 monthly installments.
- 4th place: $500 monthly bonus dollars
- 5th place: $350 monthly bonus dollars
- 6th – 10th: $250 monthly bonus dollars
- 11th – 25th: $125 monthly bonus dollars
In addition, players that opted in but did not rank on the annual leaderboard will be entered into a prize draw where five lucky winners will be treated to $125 monthly bonus dollars for an entire year; equating to a total prize value of $1,500.
A NJ online casino promo for all, or just an elite few?
Give Golden Nugget Casino credit; it has taken great pains to make its annual race more accessible to low-rollers and occasional gamblers than ever before. If a casual player’s goal is to secure one of the weekly sweepstakes prizes or even one of the smaller monthly leaderboard amounts, then they’ll likely be met, at least from time to time.
And of course there’s always a chance for recreational players to win one of the random prize amounts at the end of the year. $1,500 is nothing to scoff at for players who fancy $0.40 spins at Divine Fortune or $1 hands of blackjack.
However, if last year’s leaderboard results are any indication, the big prizes will prove out of reach to all but the most dedicated gamblers, and those with the deepest pockets at that. To wit, in 2017 the top prize winner accumulated an otherworldly 1,277,783 leaderboard points in just nine months. Assuming the same player earned half as many Golden Points (leaderboard points counted as more than 100% at times) that’s a handle of nearly $13 million on slots, or almost $64 million on other games.
Even 25th place wagered roughly $1.7 million on slots or $8.5 million on table games/video poker. Putting in this kind of volume is just impractical to anyone who isn’t a whale, and in 2018 the bar will likely be even higher due to the promo’s longer duration.
So, long story short, if you play $1 a spin roulette twice weekly, you’re not going to end up behind the wheel of a Bentley next year. But you may have an extra $5, $20, or even $500 in your account at the end of the week or month. And if you’re going to gamble on Golden Nugget Casino anyway, there’s really no reason not to opt in to what is effectively, a no-strings attached promotional offer.